Shelter in place goes in effect for Ohio

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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The state of Ohio has issued a "stay at home" order for the entire state. The order will go in effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

"There is nothing in this order that we haven't already been talking about. There is nothing in this that I haven't been asking you to do for the last few weeks," Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.

DeWine says the order comes at a new stage in the fight against COVID-19.

The order limits travel to essential activities, including visits to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor offices, and gas stations.

The order does permit exceptions to staying home. Ohians will be able to leave home for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, and for outdoor activity.

"This is not meant to harm anyone's daily lives. We understand that this is America, and as American citizens we want you to be free and go out and do the things your normally do. However we are in a vital time that this virus could go rampant," said Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless.

"You can leave home to take care of others," DeWine said. "You can take care of your neighbor, your family, your friend."

DeWine says carry-out food is still OK.

WSAZ reached out to the governor's office for clarification on the order and what it means for people who live in Ohio but work in Kentucky or West Virginia. A spokesperson said "the order does not affect travel to work, as that is essential travel."

"Any employees that are working need to have a letter from their employer like a work permit," said Lawrence County Commissioner Freddie Hayes. "This lets them know you are going back and forth to work."

The Lawrence County Health Department is working alongside businesses to determine if they are essential.

"If they are not essential like health care, pharmacies, manufacturing we understand the hardship that financial problems but losing a life is a whole lot worse," said Lawrence County Health Department Public Information Officer Debbie Fisher.